chapter  6
U.S. Refugee Policies and Refugee Migration Since World War II
WithEllen Percy Kraly
Pages 26

This chapter explores both the bounds and structure of refugee policy and its fitful development since World War II and discusses the number and national composition of the populations admitted. The laws and programs that have organized and structured the migration streams provide a historical framework. The ratio of communist to noncommunist countries of origin has not varied in the six years since the passage of the Refugee Act of 1980. Federal laws and programs have operationalized the concepts of political refuge and asylum. The validity of "refugee" and "asylee" counts has been questioned throughout the postwar period. The use of refugee programs as a convenient opportunity for immigration to the United States has often been raised. Reports from occupied Europe during the summer of 1945 urged President Harry Truman to aid in the resettlement of European Jews for humanitarian reasons and also as an encouragement to other Allied nations to participate in alleviating the refugee problem in Europe.